Some of the cricket talents that went away could have probably taken Uganda to the World Cup.
Ten years ago, Cricket Uganda had very limited opportunities to make proper ends meet, a big factor that led to losing a lot of talent.
No offence to the current crop of players but had the talent that got away been properly nurtured, they would have taken the country places.
The opportunities away from the game were more attractive than committing a lifetime to the cricket.
Uganda Cricket relies a lot on ICC funding and back then funding for Uganda was very limited to support a high-performance program as well as development programs.
Here is a list of players that have been missed by the Cricket Cranes over the years.
1. Henry Osinde
One of the finest fast bowlers to come from the cricket powerhouse Busoga College Mwiri. A lack of opportunities saw him move to Canada where he got an opportunity to play ODI cricket and also the World Cup. He is now settled in Canada and he is part of their coaching setup.
2. Kenneth Kamyuka
One of the best players to don the Cricket Cranes jersey got frustrated with the limited opportunities and moved to Canada as well. He set a record for being one of the few players to get a wicket on his ODI debut. He is retired and settled with his fiancé and son in Canada as well.
3. Joel Olweny
Another gem of a batsman from the Osinde and Kamyuka generation. He captained the national team for a while but better known for his batting prowess. Like Kamyuka and Osinde, he is settled in Canada where he works.
4. Patrick Ochan
A fantastic fast bowler who was comfortable with a new ball or old ball. Before finding cricket, Ochan was seed one Tennis player for Uganda, but once he got cherry in hand he was a fierce bowler and very handy batsman. He represented Uganda at the U19 World Cup in 2004 and 2006 and was also capped for the senior Cricket Cranes team. He played for Uganda a couple of times from his Australian base till he retired. He is now settled in Australia with his family.
5. Jimmy Okello
A very promising all-rounder, Okello was one of the few youngsters who had the ability to swing the ball in a country like Uganda. He was of the U19 at the 2006 World Cup and went on to get a senior Cricket Cranes cap. He had a big future on him and for the Cricket Cranes. He is also settled in Australia where he lives.
6. Raymond Otim
What a character! Uncle Ray was the poor man’s Johnty Rhodes, an absolute gun fielder Otim just looked fielding. He was always sliding and taking catches for fun. He took a stunner to dismiss Sir Alistar Cook at the 2004 U19 World Cup and many more of those. He is now settled and lives in New Zealand.
7. Ramathan Ochimi
Another fast-rising star, Ochimi was going to be a great bowler. He was not the tallest but had the heart of a fast bowler. He was quite a funny character in the dressing room and he should be opening bowling for Uganda now. He is now settled in New Zealand where he is studying.
8. Ahmed Yakub
Yakubu could do anything from keeping wickets to bowling leg breaks. He was also a great character who had is mates believing in him. He was captain of the U19 team that had current Cricket Cranes players Hamu Kayondo and Brian Masaba. He now lives in Canada.
9. Emmanuel Nakana
He made the U19 World Cup team in 2006 as a 14-year-old. He was a real prospect with amazing batting hands and also a very tidy off-spinner. He was looked at as the ideal replacement for Frank Nsubuga but was never to be. He also stays in Canada.
10. Moses Okwera
Another strong character, a late developer compared to his mates but one with a lot of potential. A very good medium-fast bowler but would also hit the ball very very far. He also lives in Canada with his family.
11. Andrew Ochan
One of the most technically gifted batsmen of his generation. Ochan was solid and reliable with the bat in hand. He was destined for great things especially at a time Uganda was struggling with run-scoring at the senior level. He also lives in Canada.
12. Ahmed Sangau
Sangau was a technically gifted bowler. He was very disciplined and had mastered the art of dot bowling. He knew how to dry up runs as a change bowler and would have been an asset.
13. Geoffery Nyero
A very popular character commonly known as “job job”. He was a heart cricketer but also a skilful one. He is based in Canada where he is a successful boxer.
All these fine players were products of the famous schools’ development program that was producing a lot of players but there were limited opportunities for them at the top.